College can be a stressful time for a lot of students, and the rise in mental illness cases has not made it easy on students. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, nearly 1 in 5 adults in the United States suffer from mental illness. Students at Sacred Heart University are not exempt from the statistics.
One student who has seen a change in her mental health is junior Alyssa Miclat.
“I have seen a major difference in my mental health since coming to university, both positive and negative,” said Miclat. “I think the main difference is the amount of pressure I put on myself to achieve a high GPA, as I have always been a perfectionist in everything I do, which does take a toll on my mood.”
Some students on campus have taken to making an effort at keeping a healthy mentality to combat mental illness. Senior Vitalina Golod takes care of her mental health by waking up early in the morning and focusing on what she has to do for the day.
“For me personally, a day that contributes to a healthier mentality includes waking up early and enjoying a slow morning, going out with friends, exercising and cooking at least one home-cooked dinner.”
Junior Katsiaryna Starastsenka gives her insight on what she thinks about the topic of mental health with the general population at Sacred Heart from an international student’s perspective.
“Back in my country [Belarus], people do not pay much attention to mental health or reveal their emotions, as they are not used to talking about any issues they might experience,” said Starastsenka, “while, in the USA, mental health plays an important role in society. Thus, people share what they feel and open up to people they newly meet.”
According to Junior Kim Fenton, she believes there needs to be a greater focus on resources on campus for students’ mental health as a whole.
“Most people have no knowledge of it, so we do not know what is available even if we need it,” said Fenton. “I believe more mental health resources are needed for student-athletes since they are put under greater psychological and physiological constraints and stressors in their day-to-day lives.”
Sacred Heart has a lot of resources in place in terms of mental health, including the Wellness Center and website, which include both on-campus resources as well as contact information for crisis situations outside of Sacred Heart, such as the phone numbers for the National Suicide Prevention Hotline and the Trevor Project.
Sacred Heart also offers a range of yoga, aerobic and dance classes for those looking to improve their mentality through fitness.
“I get myself involved in many extra-curricular activities at SHU, but my dance class particularly stands out, as many of my students have come to me acknowledging how it helps them relax and is their escape from the amount of college work they have, which gives a sense of achievement from my part,” said junior Samira Altareb.
Another on-campus resource for students is the s.w.e.e.t. Peer Educators who have a variety of programs throughout the year, such as s.w.e.e.t. Dreams, which teaches students about the importance of getting enough sleep. One of their most popular programs is Canine Help SHU?, where students can pet and hang out with therapy dogs to destress.
Sacred Heart also has a counseling center for students who feel like they need to talk to someone about what is going on in their life. Students can make an appointment with a counselor by calling (203) 371-7955 or following the instructions on their website at https://www.sacredheart.edu/offices–departments-directory/counseling-center/appointments/.